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I first met Paul Nicholas when he came to see our PNSA 'Showcase' performance in Nottingham in February 2010. I performed a monologue from Shakespeare's Henry V and later played Jack in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. I was thrilled when Paul gave me a 'performance award' at the end of the show! Paul also signed my copy of his autobiography, and a photograph.
Paul Nicholas was born, as Paul Oscar Beuselinck, in Peterborough in 1945. His father, Oscar Beuselinck, was once an agent working for MI6 be
before becoming a lawyer specialising in entertainment. His clients included director Tony Richardson, actor Sean Connery and the rock group The Rolling Stones.
Paul aged 18 months
When he was 14, Paul became the lead singer in his school's rock band. He called himself Paul Dean, and although still at scho
school, his band The Dreamers began trav
travelling to perform gigs all over the country. In the early 60s, Paul was 'spotted' by rock musician Screaming Lord Sutch and later beca
became part of his act, dressed in a 'leopard skin' and playing the piano in his backing band called The Savages.
Paul with his father, Oscar in 1948
Paul as Lord Sutch's pianist
Paul grew up in Colindale in North London, but after his parents separated when he was ten, he lived with his mother in St John's Woo
Wood, firstly attending a private school in Swiss Cottage before transferring to the local secondary modern school.
In 1964 Paul launched a solo singing career using the stage name 'Oscar' but it was in musical theatre that he would find real success.
Paul (as Paul Dean) with his band The Dreamers
He settled on the stage name Paul Nicholas and went on to land parts in successful rock musicals. The first of these was as Claude in the infamous Hair (1968), with its outrageously sexual songs, and nudity at the end of the first act. Then came Andrew Llo
Lloyd Webber's musical Jesus Christ, Superstar (1972) with Paul playing the central character of Jesus. Although the show ran for eight years, Paul Nicholas left it to play the tough, but funny, Danny in Grease (1973) with Elaine Paige as Sandy. The musical was staged at the newly built New London Theatre.
Paul gained further straight acting experience in the Young Vic production
of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing before returning to musicals with the Prospect Theatre Company's touring version of Bu
Pilgrim, a musical based on John Bunyans
Bunyan's book The Pligrim's Progress. This was followed by two plays at London's Royal Court Theatre, The Innocent Bystanders and
Paul Nicholas as Claude in Hair
Jesus Christ Superstar
Stephen Tate & Paul Nicholas in
Elaine Paige & Paul Nicholas in
and T-Zee and the Lost Race.
In 1981, Paul Nicholas created his famous role of Rum Tum Tugger in Andrew Lloyd Webberís musical Cats, with Elaine Paige, Brian Blessed and Wayne Sleep among the original cast of a show that eventually ran continuously for a record-breaking 21 years. He then starred in the title role of Sir Tim Riceís musical Blondel (1983) at the Old Vic and later in Charlie Girl (1986) with Cyd Charisse, at the Victoria Palace Theatre.
Paul Nicholas as Rum Tum Tugger in Cats
Paul Nicholas has signed this photo to me. It shows him
with Bonnie Langford in The Pirates of Penzance
Paul Nicholas appeared as the Pirate King in the very successful production of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance (1985) at the Manchester Opera House, which was followed by a successful season at the London Palladium in 1990.
In 1991, Paul played the title role in the circus musical Barnum at the Dominion Theatre in London. For this he trained in many circus skills, including tightrope walking & juggling. It was during a rehearsal of
of this show that Michael Aspel appeared and told him that he was to be the subject of This Is
Paul Nicholas in Barnum
Is Your Life.
In 1996, Paul appeared as King Arthur in the Covent Gard
Garden Festivalís production of Camelot. A later success for Paul came playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof which tou
toured Britain for seven months in 2003.
Paul as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof
Paul is given his 'Savages' costume by
In 2004, Paul Nicholas undertook a nine month national tour of 72 different theatres around the country, playing the title role in Frank Wildhorn's musica
In non-musical roles, Paul Nicholas completed a national tour of The Dark Side (1997) with Jenny Seagrove, followed by another tour with The Mysterious Mr Love (1997) with Susan Penhaligon. After its successful run, Mr Love transferred to the West Endís Comedy Theatre.
Lord Sutch on This is Your Life
musical Jekyll & Hyde.
Paul Nicholas in
Jekyll & Hyde
Paul Nicholas became a household favourite in his role as Vince Pinner in the BAFTA award-winning BBC television series Just Good Friends for which he was nominated as Best Comedy Actor. The series was written by John Sullivan (whose other successes include Citizen Smith and Only Fools and Horses) who also wrote the title song which Paul Nich
Nicholas sang. Jan Francis plays Vince's girl-friend Penny Warrender who meets up with him in a pub five years after he had jilted her at the altar.
Paul as Vince in Just Good Friends
The actors had a week to learn up to 60 pages of script before each episode was recorded live in front of a studio
Paul Nicholas & Jan Francis in scenes from Just Good Friends
studio audience. Twenty two episodes of this extremely popular sitcom were shown between 1983 & 1986, ending with Vince eventually marrying Penny in Paris. The series has now been released on dvd.
Paul Nicholas received a nomination for Best Actor in LWTís major drama series Bust (1987) which attracted 11 million viewers each friday night. In Bust, Paul plays an unsuccessful businessman, Neil Walsh, who tries to rebuild his life after being made bankrupt.
Paulís other TV work includes nine episodes of the LWT sitcom Close to Home (1989) and six episodes of BBC1ís Saturday night flagship come
comedy drama Sunburn (2000).
Bust on dvd
On the big-screen, Paul Nicholas' film credits include two directed by Ken Russell - Tommy (1975) featuring the rock band The Who, and Lisztomania (1975) in which he starred
as the composer Richard Wagner (portrayed as a vampire and a warewolf) opposite Roger Daltry playing another composer Franz Liszt. Paul has also
Paul Nicholas as Cousin Kevin in Tommy
Paul Nicholas as Wagner in Lisztomania
had roles in Blind Terror (1971) with Mia Farrow; Stardust (1974) with David Essex; Sgt. Pepperís Lonely Hearts Club
Band (1978) with the Bee Gees; Nutcracker (1982) with Joa
Joan Collins and Invitation to the Wedding (1985) with Sir John Gielgud and Sir Ralph Richardson.
Paul Nicholas with George Burns on the set
of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Paul Nicholas as Johnny in Stardust
In The Jazz Singer (1980) starring Neil Diamond and Laurence Olivier, Paul plays rock singer Keith Lennox.
Pop single success came his way in 1976 with disco-style numbers including Reggae Like It Used To Be, Dancing With the Captain and Grandma's Party, along with the two million best seller Heaven on the Seventh Floor in America the following year.
Paul sings Reggae Like it Used to Be
In 1992 Paul Nicholas and fellow actor, David Ian, formed their own production company. After a couple of small shows, they decided to do a nationwide tour of Jesus Christ Superstar (with P
Paul again in the title role) which they called The 20th Anniversary Concert Tour. They followed this sell-out success with The Greatest Shows in Town; their own critically acclaimed version of The Rocky Horror Show and Grease at the West End's Dominion Theatre (and on national tour). Paul's other production successes have included the musicals Singing in the Rain (in which he himself took the lead role, and former rock singer Tommy Steele directed), Evita, Chess and Saturday Night Fever.
2007 saw Paul Nicholas as both producer and director in Keeler, a new play based on Christine Keeler's autobiography The Truth At Last. Paul first starred as Sydney Carton in the musical version of Charles Dickens'
A Tale of Two Cities in 1998 at the Theatre Royal in Windsor. Ten years later he directed its London Premiere at the Gatehouse Theatre, to rapturous reviews.
Scene from Keeler at Upstairs at the Gatehouse
Susan Gee with whom he had two children Natasha (b.1967) and Oscar (b. 1969). Susan sadly died in a road accident in 1977. Paul met his second wife, actress Linzi Jennings, when she was in the cast of Hair. They married in 1984 and have three children.
Paul with his second wife Linzi
Paul with his first wife Susan
Paul Nicholas has been married twice. His first wife was Susa
In 1999, Paul Nicholas worked with co-author and journalist Douglas Thompson on his excellent autobiography called Behind The Smile.
Paul has signed my copy of his autobiography -
"Its a great life being an actor!"
Following a meeting with Karen Roberts, an actress and acting teacher running her own acting school in Blackpool, Paul set up a franchise
Paul says, "They are basically held twice a week where the kids learn about drama and stuff like that and work towards a showcase at the end of term. It is relatively accessible in that it is not expensive. It is really a way of
franchise operation in 2006 called the Paul Nicholas School of Acting, with Karen as its Principal. His school is for aspiring actors, dancers and singers who will learn all about their craft by attending classes after school and on Saturdays.
of having fun and maybe learning something that you can take on through life. At the very leas the
With my PNSA teacher, actor Matthew Huntbach
least it will give you confidence. I usually go along and launch the schools and turn up for the Christmas shows. I keep an overall view of it and I know what we are doing but I canít teach, so my side of it is to help the schools get some profile".
on Top of the Pops
Michael Aspel interrupts Barrnum to say "This is Your Life!"
Paul has written "an actor's life for you I think"
in my autograph book
Paul's latest TV appearance on BBC1's drama series Missing sc
screened on 16th March 2010
I met him again in May 2010 backstage at the Milton Keynes Theatre before his performance as the Pirate King in Gilbert & Sullivan's comic opera The Pirates of Penzance - a fabulous show that I will remember for a very long time!
Paul has recently appeared in two Gilbert & Sullivan productions with the
With Paul as the Pirate King, backstage at the Milton Keynes Theatre
the Carl Rosa Opera Company. In 2009 he played Jack Point in The Yeoman of the Guard at the Tower of London Festival, and in 2010 played the Pi
Pirate King in The Pirates Of Penzance, which went on a national tour of theatres in Bath, Bromley, Newcastle, Sheffield, Truro, Brighton and the lovely modern theatre at Milton Keynes.
Across England there are currently 30 franchises, and the one I attend in Nottingham is run by Margaret Saint & Matthew Huntbach. To visit the PNSA website click here.
that I received from Paul!
I am really proud of the PNSA award and certificate
Paul Nicholas as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance